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Geoffrey Himes

Geoffrey Himes

Geoffrey Himes has written about pop music on a weekly basis in the Washington Post since 1977, and has been a contributing editor to No Depression magazine since 1998. He has also written about pop music for Rolling Stone, the Oxford American, Musician Magazine, National Public Radio, Crawdaddy, Fi Magazine, Request Magazine, Downbeat Magazine, Country Music Magazine, Jazz Times, Bluegrass Unlimited, New Country Magazine, Sing Out, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun, Harley Davidson Magazine, the Unicorn Times, the Patuxent Newspapers and other outlets. He has been honored for Music Feature Writing by the Deems Taylor/ASCAP Awards and by the Music Journalism Awards.

Himes wrote two chapters for the book The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Country Music, and contributed entries to the The Encyclopedia of Country Music, The Music Hound Folk Album Guide and The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide. He has written liner notes for albums by the Isley Brothers, the Beach Boys, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Carey Bell, Tony Rice, Chris Hillman, Beau Jocque, Earl King and others. He is currently working on a book about Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell and Ricky Skaggs for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Himes has lived in Baltimore since 1974. His lyrics have been recorded by Billy Kemp & the Paradise Rockers, the Kinsey Report, Mojo Filter, Edge City and Pete Kennedy & Bound for Glory.

List of articles in the library by artist

Caitlin Cary, Ryan Adams, Whiskeytown: Life After Whiskeytown: Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary

Comment by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, May 2002

Who was the most important figure to emerge from the break-up of Whiskeytown – Ryan Adams or Caitlin Cary? Geoffrey Himes ponders the issue. ...

Arthur Alexander: Country's Soul: The Music Of The Late Arthur Alexander Still Provides A Living Link Between Hillbilly Twang And R&B

Retrospective by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, October 2007

ON MARCH 18, 1993, Arthur Alexander was the guest star at Jimmie Dale Gilmore's birthday party at the Broken Spoke dance hall in Austin, Texas. ...

Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey: Lee Dorsey: Why Isn't This Man in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Retrospective by Geoffrey Himes, Oxford American, July 1998

NO SINGER in the Big Easy had a more easygoing manner than Lee Dorsey. The rhythms behind him could be wickedly syncopated (they usually were), ...

Bad Religion: No Assumption Safe with Punk Vets

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, March 2013

THE TITLE OF the first single from Bad Religion's new album, True North, is unprintable in this newspaper, but the two-word expletive advises one to ...

The Band: High on the Hog

Review by Geoffrey Himes, New Country, June 1996

WHEN ROBBIE ROBERTSON and the rest of the Band split into two camps in the late '70s, who ever thought Robertson would get the worst ...

The Band, Rick Danko: Danko: Happy With His Band — And The Band

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Unicorn Times, February 1978

THE LIGHTS went down at the Cellar Door and the disembodied voice purred: "Please welcome to our stage, Arista recording artists the Rick Danko Group." ...

The Beach Boys' Schizophrenia

Essay by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, April 1981

ON JULY 4, 1980, the Beach Boys sat at the base of the Washington Monument and played to a vast sea of half a million ...

The Beach Boys: The Disciples of Brian: The Beach Boys' legacy in Decade #4

Essay by Geoffrey Himes, Crawdaddy!, 1998

What were the best Beach Boys records of the 1990s? Geoffrey Himes takes issue with his friend Paul Williams. ...

The Beach Boys: The Endless Echo of Pet Sounds

Essay by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, June 1990

COMIC STRIP characters rarely die, but Andy, the wisecracking AIDS patient in Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury strip, endured a long death watch this spring. When he ...

The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks: Brian Wilson Remembers How to Smile

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, October 2004

WHAT would have happened if, as planned, The Beach Boys had released the Smile album in the summer of 1967? For starters, people would have ...

Beaver Brown, The Bill Blue Band, Iron City Houserockers: The Heart Of Blue-Collar Rock

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, August 1981

The voices of the American working class, a gritty chorus or struggle, boredom, and uneasy weekend refuge, are heard in the music of the Iron ...

Walter Becker: 11 Tracks Of Whack

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, December 1994

AS THE TEAM called Steely Dan, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker wrote, produced and performed some of the smartest, most seductive rock-and-roll of the '70s. ...

Carla Bley, John Cowan, Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan: Christmas In The Heart/Carla Bley: Carla's Christmas Carols/John Cowan: Comfort & Joy

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Nashville Scene, December 2009

Bob Dylan's latest follows the tradition of the weird Christmas album ...

The Bottle Rockets

Report by Geoffrey Himes, Crawdaddy!, October 1996

ON OCTOBER 20th, 1977, the single-engine prop plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi, killing the band's lead singer Ronnie Van ...

Charles Bradley is off Script at Jazz Fest

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Offbeat, May 2014

ON THE FIRST Saturday of Jazz Fest 2013, Charles Bradley strode out on the Blues Tent stage as if he weren't 65 years old but ...

Billy Bragg: I Smell the Blood of a Half-Englishman: Billy Bragg

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Harp, May 2002

What does it mean to be an Englishman? Billy Bragg explains it to Geoffrey Himes. ...

Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers: Going to a Go-Go: Hip-Hop Repays Its Debt to Chuck Brown

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, December 2007

CHUCKY THOMPSON was just a teenager from the streets of Washington when he became a drummer for Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers in the ...

Solomon Burke: Big Philly Style: King Of Rock 'N' Soul Solomon Burke Returns To The City Of His Coronation

Retrospective and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, March 2005

BY EARLY 1964, the 24-year-old Solomon Burke had already been a bishop in his grandmother's church for 17 years but he wanted to be king. ...

J.J. Cale: Laying Low: The Elusive J.J. Cale Releases Possibly His Final Opus

Report by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, February 2009

THE POPULAR MYTH about the Velvet Underground is that the band never sold many records, but everyone who bought one started a band. As exaggerations ...

Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker: Camper Van Beethoven: California Dreamin'

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, January 2013

DAVID LOWERY is the lead singer and chief lyricist for two well-known rock bands: Camper Van Beethoven, which he co-founded in 1983, and Cracker, which ...

Bob Dylan, Peter Case: Bob Dylan’s Knocked Out Loaded, the Band of the Hand soundtrack, and Peter Case’s debut album

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, July 1986

THE POOR SOUND wasn’t the only problem with Bob Dylan’s recent concert in Washington. A far more fundamental problem was the overbearing preachiness and unrelenting ...

Chic: Bernard Edwards, 1952-1996

Obituary by Geoffrey Himes, Rolling Stone, June 1996

BACK IN THE DISCO era, when most records went thump-thump-thump, the music produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers went bumpity-bip-bop, bing-bang-boom. ...

Culture Club: Hey Fella, You Wanna Step Outside And Say That?

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, October 1983

BOY GEORGE and Culture Club aren't what they seem. ...

Drive-By Truckers: Playing Hurt: The Drive-By Truckers Wrestle With Loss and Acceptance on Their Darkest Album Yet

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, June 2006

NOVELIST/CRITIC George Pelecanos has called them "the American band of the decade". Amazon.com extended it to "the greatest band in the world". Blender said they ...

Bob Dylan: Live 1966 (Columbia/Legacy)

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, November 1998

CALL IT the triumph of the bootleggers. ...

Bob Dylan: MTV Unplugged (Columbia)

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, May 1995

BOB DYLAN has released 52 songs on five different albums since 1992 but has not included one song of his own written after 1990. This ...

Bob Dylan: Warner Theatre, Washington D.C.

Live Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, October 1994

BOB DYLAN'S show at the Warner Theatre last night was rapidly going down the tubes when the singer suddenly focused himself and turned the second ...

Bob Dylan, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Bob Dylan In Concert - An HBO Special

Film/DVD/TV Review by Geoffrey Himes, Columbia Flier , July 1986

THE RECENT HBO cable TV special, Bob Dylan in Concert, gave us a sneak preview of what we can expect when Dylan arrives in Washington ...

Steve Earle's Politics and Prose

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, February 1998

IT WAS the kind of night that could only take place in Nashville, a town with as many songwriters as Washington has bureaucrats. ...

Alejandro Escovedo Under the Influence

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, April 2001

ON MARCH 22, 1998, Alejandro Escovedo introduced a new song at La Zona Rosa in his hometown of Austin, Texas. He was dressed cowboy-formal in ...

Donald Fagen: Kamakiriad

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, March 1993

DONALD FAGEN'S first album in 11 years, Kamakiriad, can be judged from two different perspectives. On the one hand, it marries tartly ironic lyrics with ...

Georgie Fame, Van Morrison: Van Morrison with Georgie Fame and Friends: How Long Has This Been Going On (Verve) ****

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Rolling Stone, February 1996

ARETHA FRANKLIN AND VAN MORRISON are the best vocal improvisers of their generation, but neither can be accurately described as a jazz singer. When authentic ...

The Flatlanders: Once & Again

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Harp, Summer 2002

After more than 30 years since their first recorded project together, the Flatlanders have come together again to record Now Again. Forward all 'thank you' ...

Blind Boy Fuller: Piedmont Blues' Notorious B.I.G.

Retrospective by Geoffrey Himes, American Songwriter, May 2015

WHERE DID the Rolling Stones get the title for their 1970 live album, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out? From Blind Boy Fuller's 1938 single of the ...

Merle Haggard: For The Record: The Hag Tells It Like It Is

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Country Music, November 1999

LAST APRIL Merle Haggard turned 62, well past the age when most men slow down and mellow out. The Hag, however, is busier and ornerier ...

Human Switchboard

Profile by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, June 1982

WITH A WHOLE February afternoon to spend at home, the mailman's latest batch of new wave releases went on the turntable. They told a distressing ...

Husker Du, Bob Mould: The Real Godfather of Grunge: Bob Mould's Modulate

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, March 2002

KURT COBAIN WAS a wonderful musician, but the combination of a best-selling record, a tabloid marriage and a lurid suicide inflated his reputation all out ...

Jason Isbell: Making the Ordinary Exceptional

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, July 2015

JASON ISBELL'S new album Something More Than Free had to be different from his last one. Southeastern, his 2013 release, was born out of the ...

Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Prince: Prince/Michael Jackson/Luther Vandross: Live at the Capital Centre

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Columbia Flier , October 1988

BOTH PRINCE and Michael Jackson came to the Capital Centre last week for a showdown between the two reigning giants of rock'n'soul. Appearing in the ...

Janelle Monáe: Imagining Her Own Future

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, September 2013

CINDI MAYWEATHER is the central character in Janelle Monáe's last three recordings: the 2008 EP Metropolis, the 2010 album The ArchAndroid, and this month's album, ...

Kid Creole & The Coconuts

Profile and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, October 1981

Urban time warps and geomusical quantum leaps later, Kid Creole and his pal Sugar-Coated are washed up on a sandy Island with only their wits ...

Diana Krall: In Defence of Diana Krall

Comment by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, March 2002

Diana Krall and Jane Monheit are better than you think. Geoffrey Himes explains why. ...

Alison Krauss, Me'Shell Ndegeocello: Sounds of Heartache: Alison Krauss and Me'Shell Ndegeocello

Essay by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, August 1999

IT WOULD BE hard to think of two female singers more different than Alison Krauss and Me'Shell Ndegeocello. Krauss, a straight European-American from the Midwestern ...

Los Lobos: La Pistola y El Corazon

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, October 1988

THE DIFFERENCE between Linda Ronstadt's recent album of Mexican folk standards and Los Lobos' new album of Mexican folk standards, La Pistola y El Corazon, ...

Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rossington Collins Band: The Rossington Collins Band

Profile and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, February 1982

Southern Rock Survival Among the Alligators ...

Willy Mason: Wayward Son

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Nashville Scene, January 2013

Performer Willy Mason returns home, searches through the fog, and carries on ...

Mavis Staples, Pop Staples: Pops Staples

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Oxford American, July 1998

THE STAPLE Singers didn't get started until ten years after the family patriarch, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, moved the clan from Winona, Mississippi, to Chicago in ...

Miranda Lambert: The House That Miranda Built

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Nashville Scene, January 2012

With two critically acclaimed albums out in 2011, Miranda Lambert finds that integrity and success aren't mutually exclusive ...

Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood: Carrie Underwood/Miranda Lambert: Blonde Ambition

Comment by Geoffrey Himes, Nashville Scene, January 2008

Carrie Underwood's sold more records, so why did Miranda Lambert sweep our poll? ...

David Torn, James Blood Ulmer, Thurston Moore: When Guitars Speak: Innovations From Ulmer, Torn and Moore

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, June 1995

IT'S EASY to understand why so many jazz and pop musicians have gravitated toward the buzzing, grinding and squealing of guitar distortion, even if those ...

Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Request, September 1995

IT'S AS IF Annette Funicello had grown up and become Janis Joplin. Just 11 years ago, Alanis Morissette was a cute, 10-year-old actress on Nickelodeon's ...

Kacey Musgraves: A Whole New Trailer Park

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Nashville Scene, January 2014

Kacey Musgraves tops this year's poll for one simple reason: good, smart songs ...

Nelly: Country Grammarian: Nelly

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, September 2000

THIS IS WHAT pop music is all about. A radio single with a sing-along hook so catchy and so danceable you can't resist it. A ...

Willie Nelson: Always On My Mind (Columbia)

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, July 1982

JUST WHEN you thought you couldn't bear one more version of Paul Simon's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', Willie Nelson comes by and makes the song ...

Frank Ocean: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans

Live Review by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, May 2013

FRANK OCEAN has not only created a new kind of R&B album for the hip-hop era, but he's also creating a new kind of R&B ...

Beth Orton: Heartbreaker

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Harp, Summer 2002

TO APPRECIATE how special Beth Orton is, it helps to catch her at a show like the one she did at the 1999 South by ...

Graham Parker repeats the Rumour

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, November 2012

IN THE NEW Judd Apatow movie, This Is 40, Paul Rudd's character runs an indie record label that reunites Graham Parker and the Rumour, the ...

Phish in the Farmhouse: An Interview with Trey Anastasio

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, guitar.com, June 2000

THE FIRST WORDS you hear on the new Phish album are, "Welcome, this is our farmhouse," and you are invited, as never before, into the ...

Elvis Presley: From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential '60s Masters 1

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, October 1993

IT'S EASY TO DISMISS ELVIS PRESLEY'S post-army career – easy, that is, until one is forced to sit down and listen to a song like ...

Elvis Presley: Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential ‘70s Masters

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, December 1995

ELVIS PRESLEY'S music in the 1970s is often dismissed as the bombastic, half-hearted hack work of an overweight, pill-addicted, badly dressed has-been. In the liner ...

The Raconteurs: Raconteurs: Rac & Roll!

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Harp, June 2006

THE BRICKS stuck around to cheer on their pals in the Greenhornes, a Cincinnati garage-rock trio that played so often in Detroit they seemed like ...

The Rolling Stones: Stones Still Hungry After All These Years

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Unicorn Times, July 1978

THE ROLLING STONES first crawled into our collective hearts as a teenage working class street punk band. And now, here are Keith Richard and Mick ...

The Roots: Down to The Roots

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Chicago Tribune, July 2001

TO UNDERSTAND WHY the Roots are the world's best live-on-stage hip-hop act, you have to look past the front line of rappers and check out ...

Doug Sahm: A Review

Overview by Geoffrey Himes, Harp, Spring 2002

LIKE DR. JOHN in New Orleans and Paul Butterfield in Chicago, Doug Sahm was a white kid whose musical curiosity led him to the wrong ...

Sleater-Kinney: Punk Lyrics: Shortening The Line

Comment by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, March 2015

A LOT OF GOOD THINGS are happening on Sleater-Kinney's first album in ten years, but I want to talk about one aspect that often gets ...

Sleater-Kinney: The Gamblers: Sleater-Kinney Makes A Stab At Greatness With Its Ambitious New Album

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, June 2005

RARE IS THE punk-rock band that makes its best music 11 years after starting. Few punk bands even make it to the 11-year mark and ...

Sam Smith shows effortless talent, tasteful restraint at Merriweather show

Live Review by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, July 2015

WHEN YOU HAVE a voice as spectacular as Sam Smith's—an instrument that can glide across multiple octaves without a break or apparent effort—the temptation to ...

Bruce Springsteen: Tougher Than Most: Bruce Springsteen's Tunnel of Love tour

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore Sun, March 1988

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S 'Tougher Than the Rest' is a sombre, unforgiving song typical of his recent Tunnel of Love album. It describes love not as an ...

Ralph Stanley: Back to Clinch Mountain: Ralph Stanley

Report and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Country Music, September 1998

"THREE GROUPS shaped bluegrass music," Ricky Skaggs told me recently, "Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, the Stanley Brothers, and Flatt & Scruggs. Everyone ...

Danny Thompson, Richard Thompson: Industry: A Tale of Two Thompsons

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, July 1997

DANNY THOMPSON grew up in the world described in the movie Brassed Off--the northern British villages where men scrub off the soot of the ...

Richard Thompson: Watching The Dark: The History of Richard Thompson

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Request, June 1993

LIKE MUCH OF his later writing, Greil Marcus' introductory notes to the new Richard Thompson box set, Watching the Dark, are a hodge-podge of strained ...

U2's Journey Through The Past: Rattle and Hum

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Washington Post, The, October 1988

BY THEIR OWN admission, the members of U2 had little sense of history when they started making music. Like so many of their generation, the ...

Luther Vandross

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Musician, December 1982

LUTHER VANDROSS curled up in the stuffed arm chair with his Wizard-of-Oz red ruby shoes tucked under his massive bulk. When he described Dionne Warwick's ...

Wendy Waldman: The Main Refrain (Warner Bros. BS 2974)

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Crawdaddy!, February 1977

HER SURF'S UP, SHE'S NO PET ...

Junior Walker & The Allstars: Junior Walker 1931-1995

Obituary by Geoffrey Himes, Rolling Stone, January 1996

IN EARLY 1965, a new single lit up American radio. It began with a gunshot, echoed by the snare drum that followed. Then a tenor ...

Jesse Winchester: An Appreciation

Obituary by Geoffrey Himes, Paste, April 2014

FOR 10 YEARS, from 1967 to 1977, Jesse Winchester couldn't set foot in the United States, the nation where he had lived until he was ...

Dwight Yoakam: Gone

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Rolling Stone, December 1995

EVEN TODAY the stereotype lingers that country songs are all words – storytelling lyrics backed by merely functional music. That cliché can be shattered once ...

Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy (Asylum 6E-118)

Review by Geoffrey Himes, Unicorn Times, April 1978

The Excitable Warren Zevon: Accidently Like a Rock Star ...

List of genre pieces

Sound City at SXSW

Film/DVD/TV Review by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore City Paper, March 2013

THE SOUTH BY Southwest Conference got underway yesterday with SXSW Film, one leg of the tripod extravaganza that also features Interactive and Music components. Twenty-two ...

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